POLICE began trawling the waters of a reservoir to try and locate the lost boat of two fishermen who died at the weekend.
A specialist marine police unit scanned Gladhouse Reservoir with sonar equipment to try and find out what lead to the deaths of David Archibald, 59, and Andrew Conlon, 56.
The two anglers perished in an apparent tragic accident while fishing on the 460 acre body of water on Sunday near Gorebridge,Midlothian.
They were due home once it got dark but when they failed to return their families reported their disappearance to the police.
Their bodies were discovered by RAF helicopter just before 4am on Monday after a major operation in conjunction with Lothian and Borders Police Service.
It also emerged that Mr Conlon was the fishing manager at the 50ft-deep reservoir and had the right to cancel trips he considered unsafe.
Police confirmed that neither of the pair wore life jackets but close friend Stuart Fraser said that Drew was “old school” and never wore them.
Mr Fraser said: “He was a jovial, larger than life character who was very knowledgable about fishing and he’ll be sorely missed.
“I knew him since we were teenagers – he was an old school angler and never wore a lifejacket.
“Apart from that he never took a risk on the water. He was well aware of how quick the conditions can change and knew all the sheltered spots to hide in.
“Maybe it was a medical problem.”
A sign at the reservoir warns that it is “a large inland water and if not treated with respect it can be a hazardous environment”.
Fishermen are advised to check the weather forecast as “fishing on the reservoir is very difficult at Force 4 wind or above”.
With tragic irony, the signs states: “If in doubt about the weather, please consult the fishing manager (Drew Conlon). It is at the discretion of the fishing manager to cancel…if he considers it is not safe to fish.”
It adds: “It is mandatory for all anglers to wear a buoyancy aid at all times.”
At Mr Conlon’s home, his son, Andrew, said: “We don’t want to talk about it right now – it’s a bit of a hard time as I’m sure you’ll understand.”
Friends and neighbours described the dead man – known as Drew – as a “great guy”.
Neighbour Jim Johnstone, a friend of Mr Conlon for 50 years, said: “He was a great guy who had time for everyone.
“He loved a few things – his family, tinkering on cars and of course, fishing.
“He went out with the rod nearly every single weekend – I think for a lot of these trips it was him and Davie together.
“Drew would also come over and help me fix my car or other jobs around the house.
“His wife Iris and his son and daughter, Christopher and Claire, will no doubt be heartbroken.”
Another next door neighbour of Andrew said: “He was a great guy. He was right into his fishing, he loved it.
“We’ve been living next door to him for about 19 years and he was here before we were.
“He worked as a taxi driver and everyone knew Drew – he’s a great guy.
Mr Archibald’s wife, Heather, answered the door at their home today but was too distressed to speak.
She said: “We just don’t feel like we can talk about it right now.”
Speaking yesterday Inspector Simpson said: “They were not wearing lifejackets.
“They were found in the outlet of the reservoir that leads to the overspill Roseberry Reservoir but they could’ve floated for some distance.
“The two men were frequent fishers of the reservoir coming here two or three times per week.
“It is unknown how long they were on the water – but according to the families they tended to come home before it got dark.”
“Early indications are that this was a tragic accident and there are no suspicious circumstances.
“Our thoughts are with the two families and we have officers working with them to provide support. They are being kept fully informed.”
Gladhouse, which opened in 1879, was the first in a series of reservoirs built on the South Esk to increase the water supply to Edinburgh.
Fishing can only be done by boat because of the heavy undergrowth that surrounds that loch.
The reservoir is leased to syndicates by land agents Smith Gore on behalf of Rosebery Estate.